The Bates Family

Friends-n- Fellowship

by Kelly on June 29, 2013

  We love the opportunity to meet with other families and to learn fr20130527_191144om their many experiences… and we can certainly learn a great deal from the Gaddis family. They have 15 children which they homeschool, four of which are adopted (2 sets of twins) giving them 7 children under 6 years old! The oldest daughter is 18 and will be finishing her senior year as a nurse at UT this year! All 3 oldest daughters earned a full scholarship into the nursing program at UT at age 15…Quite an accomplishment!

  Obviously their home is very organized and structured. They manage to homeschool, bake goods for family and friends, and continue distributing and handling the translation work of Mrs. Gaddis’ parents who were missionaries among the Aztecs (or Nahuas) in the Huasteca region of Northern Mexico .

  I’m always amazed when I walk in an organized person’s home. I feel like taking out a pen and paper and just taking notes the whole time! I’m so grateful God places people in our paths that have such a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on! 20130527_191102

PS… Mrs. Gaddis attributes all those brainy children’s accomplishments to lots of reading. They use Sonlight curriculum, which places a heavy emphasis on good literature! But my kids think their greatest accomplishments are done in the kitchen! They can all cook, and they shared some recipes from a recent get together we had!

Salsa (Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

1 can Whole canned tomatoes

2 cans of Rotel (tomatoes and chilies, Mild or Original)20130527_125622

1/4 cup diced onion

1 fresh jalapeno

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

10 cranks of freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp of cumin

1 clove of fresh garlic or 1/2 tsp of the minced kind from the store

1 cup of cilantro

1/4 cup fresh diced onion

Pour the can of whole canned tomatoes (including the juice) into the food processor or blender. Pour in the 2 cans of Rotel into the food processor with the whole tomatoes. Add the 1/4 cup of onion. Chop up 1 clove of garlic and add to the food processor. Slice 1 jalapeno into thin slices, (leave seed and membranes). Add into the food processor. Add 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of cumin and the 10 cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Add the juice of 1 lime.  Add 1 cup of cilantro roughly chopped. Pulse the food processor until the salsa reaches the consistency you like. Cover and let sit in the fridge until chilled thoroughly, about 1 hour


Grandma Beller’s Pineapple Mandarin Orange Cake 

Combine in mixing bowl:

11 oz mandarin oranges in juice (do not drain) 20130527_202813

1 Duncan Hines Yellow Supreme Cake Mix

1 cup of chopped pecans

4 eggs slightly beaten

1/2 cup oil

Mix for 2 minutes on medium low speed

Bake in a well-greased 9×13 pan for 30-35 minutes at 325 degrees


1 can 16 oz crushed pineapple

3 oz of instant vanilla pudding

8 oz of Cool Whip

Let cake cool completely and then cover with topping

Chill before serving and store in the fridge.


{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth June 30, 2013 at 6:44 am

What wonderful fellowship! I am a young nurse and it warms my heart to know of other Christian girls who will serve in this way. I was wondering, is Erin about to graduate? Exciting milestones! Blessings for your sweet family- you are such an encouragement to me!


Kelly July 1, 2013 at 2:31 am

Dear Elizabeth,
She is supposed to graduate Dec, 2013. She is taking online summer classes now. Love, Kelly


sonjapetersen June 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hello dear Kelly and family!
I am delighted to see your family and other big families coming together. What a blessing to learn from each other. You wouldnt find families like yours with so many children here where I do live. Unfortunately its extraordinary. But I believe children are a blessing.
I can see the joy and friendship in your eyes. Everone looks so satisfied. Thanks to the Lord who made that happen. The cake is looking yummy! I use to bake a mandarin orange cake like this for my family every summer.
Take care!


Johanna June 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Wow! Looks like your having fun! :)


Symphony July 1, 2013 at 12:40 am

We used Sonlight up until the highschool grades. Lots of reading which we love! =) O love the picture with Alyssa looking surprised near the bottom!=) cute


Piper July 1, 2013 at 1:20 am

Full scholarships at fifteen is impressive! College can be so expensive–it is great they can graduate without student loans!

I love that train table :) My kids would be never want to leave it :p


Annalee July 1, 2013 at 1:58 am

Wow! What an incredible family! I wish I could see her home and take notes! I definitely need help with organization at our house! :) She must be one amazing woman! I bet they don’t watch t.v., huh?


Mrs B July 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

Greetings, Bates family!
Boy, it would be just great to be mentored by a family like yours and the Gaddises. It is so hard to maintain the motivation for school, home, and ministry. Thanks for sharing.


Norie July 1, 2013 at 5:55 am

Just wanted to say we have learned a ton from your family. Thank you for your honest sharing and humility. I am grateful to receive the wealth of knowledge you have accumulated and shared with us. You are a huge blessing. Love, Norie


Natalie July 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Is that your house?


Kelly July 2, 2013 at 2:20 am

Dear Natalie,
that is Dr. Gaddis’ home in Maryville, TN. Love, Kelly


John Allen July 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Is it safe to say that Alyssa was caught off guard?


Kelly July 2, 2013 at 2:19 am

Dear john,
Yes…she was! Love, Kelly


John Allem July 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Either way, I do not think any of you Bates ladies, and the younger ones too, could take a bad picture even if you are caught off guard.


John Allen July 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I feel like an idiot! I can’t even spell my own last name right. Would it be a blond moment or a senior moment? I don’t know. I’ll just blame it on the devil.


Miriam July 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Hello! May Jesus Christ bless your family! I love your family very much.

I think that it is better to do accomplishments in the kitchen than to read worldly literature. Studying in the college made me worldly. I quitted my college studies and I think it was a right decision.


Rebekah M. July 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I didn’t use Sonlight when I was in school, but we sure did a lot of reading! I still LOVE books and am now an author myself. I so enjoy reading about your family and seeing how much love and fun you all have! God bless!


Ruthie July 2, 2013 at 5:26 am

That’s awesome! I hope to one day meet your family! People say our family is big but there are only six siblings, lol!


alexia July 3, 2013 at 12:55 am

Is anyone courting:)?


Kelly July 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Dear Alexia,
Yes, Erin and Chad are courting! And…..a new post coming soon about another recent courtship beginning! :) Love, Kelly


J. Ruth July 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

…is the new couple Alyssa and John Webster?!?!


Kelly July 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Dear J. Ruth,
Hmmm…. I’ll try to get a post done today if possible :) Love, Kelly


J.T. - C.T. P July 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

… is the post coming? We are patiently awaiting!

alexia July 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

When are the girls allowed to wear makeup…and how much do they wear if they are allowed??
Thank you


Kelly July 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Dear Alexia,
Well, we usually let them start at 16, but we are very open to appeals. For instance, if they feel they have blemishes to deal with and would like to start wearing foundation early, that’s understandable. We encourage them to try to look natural, even though they are using make up for its advantages. Even makeup companies are advertising for the most natural look. But the newness of anything is exciting, and they may go through a stage where they wear it a little heavy… but as soon as they learn that most boys prefer a natural look, then they tone it back down! My step dad used to tell me the best makeup artist is the one that puts it on so well that people think you’re not even wearing it! Love, Kelly


patty July 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Could you share the organization tips/family tips that you learned from the Gaddis family?


Kelly July 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dear Patty,
Oh I wish you could be there in person to see! She is so organized!!! For example, she gave us some school curriculum and each grade was carefully organized in tubs and labeled. I walked into the play room, and our children were playing hard and enjoying all the toys. I came back about 30 minutes later and only one small boy was standing in the middle of a spotless room. I asked him who cleaned it, and he said he did. He said they always clean a room before leaving it. Each toy had a specific place… very organized! Love, Kelly


Julia July 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm

That looks like so much fun! Have you known them for a long time?


Kelly July 6, 2013 at 3:55 am

Dear Julia,
Just a few months! Love, Kelly


Julia July 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm

HOw cool!


Theresa July 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

That train table is awesome! :) Looks like you had a wonderful time. Hope your having a wonderful summer.


Casey Bates July 5, 2013 at 2:24 am

Love reading your updates, Kelly! You guys have so much fun. Hope we’ll get to see you again soon!


Val Young July 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Looks like a wonderful time. We don’t hardly get invited over places except for family, really miss that fellowship. Their home looks amazing.


TMichelle July 8, 2013 at 5:17 am

It’s great to “see” everyone while we are away. It looks like everyone had so much fun! Many blessings to all of you and especially Michael as she travels for mission work. :)


Ale July 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

You may have addressed this in a previous post. What does UT stand for?


Kelly July 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Dear Ale,
UT stands for university of Tennessee. Love, Kelly


Ale July 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

AH! I’m having a blonde moment! University of Tennessee??? Is that what UT stands for? I’m from Indiana, so I hadn’t heard of UT before. Lol. Oh my.


Nan July 10, 2013 at 3:41 am

Dear Kelly,
I’m sure it must be exhausting keeping up with this blog, as I imagine some comments you need to read are quite unkind. Please know that your efforts are worthwhile, though. I can ony speak for myself, but I know this blog has helped me to know Jesus for the first time in my life and draw closer to Him. So, THANK YOU! And please, please keep it up!


Val Young July 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Nan, bless you in your new walk with our Lord! I’m not Kelly, but I just wanted to say welcome to a new sister in Christ. Bless you!


Ale July 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Hi again Kelly!

My friend Elise and I have Duggar/Bates days about every week. Anyway, we were watching your season today, and we were wondering, how are the chickens doing?

God Bless,

Ale and Elise


Kelly July 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Dear Ale,
lol! They’re doing fine…only the biggest rooster thinks he’s supposed to live on our porch instead of his pen…that can be pretty messy! He is fun to look at and see out the window, even if he does make me feel a little bit like Ma and Pa Kettle (old black and white TV show about a country couple with a houseful of kids!). Love, Kelly


Nan July 11, 2013 at 1:15 am

Another courtship?! Don’t keep us in suspense!


Christy July 11, 2013 at 1:39 am

very very cool! How fun! Would love to meet them!


Harvest July 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Another courtship?! Kelly, that is VERY exciting news! The Lord just keeps blessing your family more and more with such exciting adventures! Can’t wait to hear which one of your children is in a courtship. Hope all is well with Erin and Chad too and that their courtship is becoming stronger each second they bring God closer to them. I remember getting antsy and anxious for my now husband to pop the question but I knew that the Lord would provide that door for us when the time was right. There’s nothing wrong with getting impatient with it and getting anxious :) .

God Bless,


Gayle July 12, 2013 at 2:15 am

Another courtship – I can’t wait to hear. :) I love reading your updates. Thanks for sharing your stories. You truly have a beautiful family.


Melanie July 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I can’t wait to read about the new courtship!


Lilly July 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Very excited to hear about the new courtship! Maybe we will hear about it today..?? ;)


S.K. July 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm

What are your children’s ages? Just wondering.


Kelly July 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dear S.K.,
They range from 24 to 17 months. Love, Kelly


Jodi July 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I love to read your updates! I hope the next one is soon and tells us about the new courtship!


Tami July 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I’ve been checking your blog everyday hoping to find out about the new courtship. I know you are very busy but we are dying to know!! I hope you get a chance to do it soon


Kelly July 17, 2013 at 4:42 am

Dear tami,
Just waiting on the pics so I can make a post…lol! Love, Kelly


Jessica July 18, 2013 at 4:17 am

What a fun time. So, do you guys host things regularly? Like, how many times a month? Is that difficult? Like, something you have to force for your children’s sake? I think of all the work and get a bit overwhelmed, just with my six. Just curious what you do for hospitality in your home, how often and such and if it is hard. Thank you for sharing tid bits of your life, Kelly. You are a jewel. Love, Jessica


Kelly July 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Dear Jessica,
Haha…I came from a family that had a constant overflow of friends and families visiting! Dad was a preacher and Mom knew how to stick a broom in someone’s hand, put them to work, and make them feel like part of the family!! My children are social butterflies, so they do most of the inviting…but yes, we always have company. I like it that way!! Our kids are here having fun with us, instead of at somebody else’s house all the time! I used to laugh growing up because all our school friends wanted to hang out with our parents!!! I always said I wanted my house to be like that…the hang out place!!! Well, its grand central station…no doubt about it!! Love, Kelly


Jackie July 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Kelly, thanks for sharing about the Gaddis family. It is always encouraging and inspiring to read about other inspirational families and women who are skillfully organized in their homes. You have inspired so many women. It is good to see that you have found encouragement and inspiration too.
Does the Gaddis Family or Mrs. Gaddis have a blog ? I would love to add it to my favorites!


Kelly August 12, 2013 at 4:36 am

Dear Jackie,
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a blog yet…sorry! Love, Kelly


Alexandra November 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm

With all the recipes, I’m wondering if you could share Michael’s recipe for chicken quesadias (Sp?) that were features on an episode of the Duggars show when you were doing the remodel – they looked delicious!!! What does she serve them with?

P.S. I think Michael and John David Duggar would make an excellent pair.. :)


Kelly November 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Dear Alexandra,
You can either boil, bake, or sautee your chicken. Add to your cooked chicken, fajita seasoning packet, sour cream, cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and cream of chicken soup. Spread filling on tortilla shell. Top with another shell. Brush both sides with melted butter and fry in cast iron skillet for 30 seconds on each side. Keep warm in oven on 200 degrees while others are cooking. Stack on pan with wax paper between. Serve with sour cream, lettuce, and tomato. (Can add sauteed onions and refried beans if desired). Love, Kelly


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